Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has published their Pre-Submission version of its Local Plan (also known as the Regulation 19 version). The consultation period starts on 9am on Friday 26 March 2021 and runs to 5pm on Friday 4 June 2021. The Plan sets out the proposed planning policies to guide development in the borough up to 2038. The Council have stated that:

"Within the context of a long-term vision and related objectives, it [the plan] comprises overarching strategic policies, including a new development strategy, supported by both place-specific local strategies and site allocations, and generic policies on a range of topics."

Alongside a suite of more standard policies, what really stands out in this plan is that despite much of the district being heavily constrained the plan does not shy away from the standard method derived housing need figures as many have and the plan sets out how it hopes to provide the 12,204 new homes needed over the plan period. This includes allocating land for some 6,900 new homes - many of which will be located on 407.5ha of Green Belt (which will be de-designated) around Paddock Wood and Tudeley where a new 'garden village' is proposed.

There is surely much to consider through this consultation and subsequent examination. Has the Duty to Cooperate been met? Is the de-designation of Green Belt justified? Are the windfall allowances (which allow for some 1,670 new homes) appropriate? On an initial review it appears a bold plan, but the devil is always in the detail and it will be interesting to delve a little deeper into the legal tests and soundness over the coming weeks. 

The plan and associated documents can be found at https://tunbridgewells.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/local-plan/pre-submission-local-plan 

If you're considering how best to respond to the above consultation, Squires Planning would be happy to have an informal discussion to see how we can assist you. 

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